The following was emailed to North Island farmers on 18 May 2023.
The Government’s announcement on Sunday of a billion-dollar flood and cyclone recovery package in Budget 2023 was disappointing in that it didn’t provide much more for farmers and growers specifically, though the investment in general infrastructure is appreciated.
We are working hard to quantify the direct costs for farmers to rebuild their on-farm infrastructure in the affected areas across the North Island. We will provide this information to the Government while continuing to press strongly for further funding to be made available.
Farmers urgently need certainty on what financial support will be available, as they need to get on with rebuilding and recovery, and we will keep pushing for adequate support. The longer this is delayed, the greater the flow-on effects to the wider region will be as farmers hold off making purchasing decisions.
The three funds announced on the weekend were:
- $30 million to help rural businesses and communities to boost health and safety and protect animal welfare following Cyclone Gabrielle.
- $5.4 million to support the wellbeing of rural communities isolated by recent North Island weather events, including Cyclone Gabrielle.
- $10.15 million to help with the clean-up of woody debris in the Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti regions.
The Ministry for Primary Industries is working on guidelines and criteria for the distribution of these funds. We understand they will not be available to individual farmers but for councils, community groups, industry bodies, iwi and other providers to provide advice and support and deliver services to rural communities in these areas of need.
Funding allocations will be managed via an expression of interest process that we anticipate will go live later this month. Further details will be available soon.
What B+LNZ is doing
- We are continuing to work with the rural advisory groups and other industry groups to coordinate on-the-ground support to farmers.
- We are working to quantifying the total direct on-farm impacts of Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle and other recent extreme weather events on sheep and beef farms in affected areas to inform Government decisions about further support.
- This work is based on discussions with farmers, local government, central government and others and involves detailed mapping and analysis based on the B+LNZ Sheep and Beef Farm Survey.
- We are looking at the cost of damage to on-farm infrastructure including fencing, water reticulation, access, equipment, and loss of stock.
- We’ll release this information soon and will continue to push the Government for an adequate support package and to ensure on-the-ground support is available to farmers as quickly as possible.